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How the West voted: Status quo prevailsHow the West voted: Status quo prevails

Lightning rods Newsom, Lee, Polis, Little win re-election; initiatives mixed.

Farm Progress Staff

November 10, 2022

5 Min Read
Gov. Gavin Newsom
California Gov. Gavin Newsom is shown speaking at a disaster readiness event earlier in 2019.Office of Gov. Gavin Newsom

A rural farmer's longshot quest to become California's governor couldn't overcome the political prowess of Gov. Gavin Newsom, who breezed to re-election Nov. 8 after surviving a recall vote a year earlier.

If there's one solace that Republican state Sen. Brian Dahle can take, it's that has so far appeared to keep Newsom's vote total under 60%. With 95.1% of precincts reporting on Nov. 9, Newsom had 57% of the vote -- a notch below the 63% he achieved in his 2018 election and in the 2021 recall.

“The Democratic party just has another boost of political capital to go back to Sacramento and keep doing what they’re doing,” said Melissa Michelson, a political science professor at Menlo College, according to MediaNews Group.

Dahle, a grain grower from Bieber, Calif., won the right to challenge Newsom by overwhelmingly claiming the second spot in the state's jungle primary for governor with 17% of the vote. Dahle, 56, said he believed voters were ready for a fresh approach after 25 years of nearly exclusive Democratic Party rule in the state.

Dahle’s grandfather was a veteran who drew a homestead in Tulelake in 1930 and planted wheat and potatoes. He bought the family’s current farm in 1942, and the family raises cereal grains organically.

Dahle's wife, Megan Dahle, was winning re-election to her state Assembly seat with 60% of the vote.

Newsom was one of numerous top elected officials in the West who secured re-election in what has turned out to be a largely status-quo election. Here's a look at how key races and ballot initiatives in the region were shaping up as of Nov. 9.


Ballots were still being counted in the Grand Canyon State's two marquee races -- Katie Hobbs and Kari Lake battling for the governorship, and Sen. Mark Kelly fending off Blake Masters in his re-election bid. Democrats Hobbs and Kelly held slight leads with two-thirds of ballots counted.

Voters in Arizona passed Proposition 209, which would place limits on medical debt collection practices.

Proposition 309, which would increase voter ID requirements, was slightly behind.


Voters in the Golden State appeared to give comfortable margins to Democrats seeking statewide office and returned Alex Padilla to the U.S. Senate. Padilla was filling the seat held by Vice President Kamala Harris.

Among initatives, voters roundly defeated Proposition 30, which would have raised taxes on wealthy individuals to fund state electric-vehicle and wildfire-prevention projects, and passed a ban on certain flavored tobacco products attractive to children.


Colorado Democrats — facing a shaky, inflationary economy, a typically baleful midterm environment where their party controls the White House, and relentless attacks over drugs and crime — swept the statewide constitutional offices, fended off Republicans’ “perfect candidate” for the U.S. Senate and celebrated what appeared to be a continued trifecta control of the legislature and governor’s office, the Denver Post reported.

Gov. Jared Polis (57%) and U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (54%) won convincingly. Bennet defeated Republican Joe O'Dea, who had been endorsed by victorious Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Democrats also appear to have won four of six House seats.


The Gem State overwhelmingly re-elected U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo and Gov. Brad Little, both Republicans.

Little faced criticism from within his own party for a coronavirus-related emergency shutdown in 2020, but Idaho has remained mostly open throughout the pandemic and its unemployment rate has lowered to pre-pandemic levels, The Associated Press notes.

He easily dispatched Democrat Stephen Heidt and Independent candidate and antigovernment activist Ammon Bundy, who had initially sought to challenge Little in the Republican primary.


Because of redistricting brought on by migration into the state, Montana had two House seats up for grabs for the first time in its history.

Republican Rep. Matt Rosendale easily won re-election, while former Trump administration Interior secretary Ryan Zinke had a slight lead.


In the Silver State, first-term Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak was falling behind Republican Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, who was leading, 50.6% to 45.8%, with 77% if ballots counted.

The campaign has been costly and contentious, with ads highlighting such issues as crime, abortion, the economy and education, Fox News reports.

Republican Adam Laxalt was inching ahead of incumbent Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto with 77% of the vote in.

Voters appeared to slightly favor Question 3, which would establish open top-five primaries and ranked-choice voting for all congressional, gubernatorial, state official, and state legislative elections.

Question 2, which increases the state's minimum wage to $12 per hour by July 1, 2024, was convincingly approved.


In a race to replace outgoing gov. Kate Brown, Democrat Tina Kotek was leading Republican Christine Drazan by less than 15,000 votes with two-thirds of ballots counted. Kotek was Republicans' most competitive gubernatorial candidate in Oregon in decades.

In congressional contests, Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer holds a narrow lead over Democrat Jamie McLeod-Skinner in the 5th Congressional District, and Democrat Andrea Salinas holds a narrow lead over Republican Mike Erickson in the the 6th Congressional District.

Measure 114, which would change the procedure to purchase a firearm, including requiring a permit, background check, and safety training for anyone who wants to purchase a firearm, was slightly ahead with 77% of votes counted.


Utah Republicans held all four House seats and one Senate seat that were up for grabs, according to Fox News

Incumbent Sen. Mike Lee was re-elected to a third term, defeating independent challenger Evan McMullin with 55% of the vote. Lee said his victory was a rebuke of Democrats who have controlled Washington for the past two years, FNC reported.

Constitutional Amendment A, which would have increased emergency legislative  spending limits, was resoundingly defeated.


Democratic Sen. Patty Murray cruised to re-election, defeating Republican Tiffany Smiley with 56% of the vote.

In ag areas, Republican Reps. Dan Newhouse and Cathy McMorris Rodgers prevailed, while Republican Joe Kent was hoping for a late surge in the 3rd Congressional District against Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez.

Kent, who was endorsed by Donald Trump, was trailing 53% to 47% with two-thirds of votes counted.

Residents rejected the notion of raising transportation taxes in a pair of advisory votes.


Harriet Hagerman, who defeated anti-Trump U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney in the Republican primary, won her House race with nearly 70% of the vote.

Incumbent Gov. Mark Gordon topped two opponents with 76% of the vote.

About the Author(s)

Farm Progress Staff

/author/compiled-by-staff, Farm Progress


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